Bar Council wants Pakatan to implement promises on human right reforms

Radzi Razak
Abdul Fareed pointed out that throughout 2019, the PH government has reneged on several promised human right reforms. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — The Malaysian Bar Council wants the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to implement promises made in their manifesto on human right reforms.

Its president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said he welcomes a statement made by de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who said the government is developing concrete solutions for unresolved human rights issues and hoped that all of the promised reforms would be realised soon.

“In this regard, we note that YB Datuk Liew is reported to have addressed freedom of information legislation, alternative sentencing to replace the mandatory death penalty, the establishment of a Law Commission and Ombudsmen Malaysia, the decriminalising of drug addiction, and that Cabinet had approved the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights for Malaysia. These are all welcomed,” he said in a statement today.

However, Abdul Fareed also pointed out that throughout this year, the PH government had also reneged on various promised human right reforms.

He said that Promise 26 of the manifesto that pledges to “make our human rights record respected by the world” has been severely challenged by the PH’s U-turn on acceding to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the withdrawal of its decision to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as well as Promise 27 of the manifesto on the abolishment of oppressive laws.

This includes the recent use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) against 12 individuals allegedly linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“The Malaysian Bar therefore also calls on the government to accede to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), as pledged, without further delay.

“The Malaysian Bar, therefore, hopes that the commitment by YB Datuk Liew will manifest not only in stronger political will but should also signal less abuse by the executive,” he said in regard to the suggestion by the government that certain draconian parts of Sosma should be amended.

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